If you have been following Billy D. Washington’s comedy career, you might already know that he used to be a cop. Now, if you’re wondering how he made the transition to comedian Red River Noise has the scoop on all that and more.
Washington has been playing piano for quite some time and initially he felt shy about performing on stage. When he got into law enforcement, he worked security at a comedy club. Night in and night out he watched comedians get up on stage and do their thing. Finally—after about two years—Washington got the courage to get up on stage. From then on he was hooked.
“For me, both jobs involve control and I’m sort of a person who likes control,” says Washington. “I like a controlled environment where I go in and when I come in, I run the show.”
A short time after his first performance, Washington started touring with the legendary Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. Washington says his first real audience was about 800 people and after that he was spoiled.
“I remember performing at Radio City Hall and just to be on stage at Radio City Music Hall as a comedian during my act was amazing,” says Washington. “I got a standing ovation from the opening spot at one of the shows, so that has probably been the thing that stuck with me the most.”
After touring for three years, Washington worked as a private investigator for a few more years. Then came his first television gig on Friday Night Videos on NBC. It was then that he officially decided to quit the cop job and never went back.
Even so, Washington’s comedic road hasn’t necessarily been a smooth one.
“In the politics of this business sometimes people get overlooked whether it be because of age, race or whatever,” says Washington. “There are some things that I think I’m qualified for and I haven’t yet been afforded the opportunity.”
However, that’s not to say he isn’t happy doing comedy.
“I love working at clubs,” says Washington. “The people at the shows are closer to me and I feel like I can engage them directly.”
When he isn’t busy touring his stand-up routine, Washington tries to be a jack-of-all-trades. He writes, edits, produces, shoots videos and designs as much as he can. Ultimately, Washington wants to create a television or film script that will get some distribution. And honestly, who wouldn’t want to see a show or film created by him?
For those of you that didn’t know Washington has already written two plays, one of which is currently touring. “Finding First Lady” is about a preacher who goes on a reality show to find a wife. Washington recently sold the rights of the play so that it can become an actual reality show soon.
“I also have this idea for a movie called ‘Killer Comics’,” says Washington. “It will be about five comedians who plot to rob a comedy club on New Year’s Eve.”
Aside from playwriting and screenwriting, Washington also wrote an article for LaughSpin.com titled ”The Decay of the Influential Comedian” which received about 20,000 views within the first two days of being published.
As of now Washington is focusing on his next CD—which will be recorded in Colorado in July. He is also working with comedians B.T., Louis Johnson and Vince Morris on their S.E.L.L.O.U.T Comedy Tour. They’ve been going around the country for six years answering the audiences most burning questions about black people in their main show titled “Ask A Black Man”.
“The questions we get asked most frequently are about fat white women and about penis size,” says Washington. “And they’re both true.”
After being asked over 3,000 questions Washington says at least 800 of them are penis-related questions.
With all the creative projects Billy D. Washington has going on, he seems to be in a great place.
“I don’t know what I’m going to want to do next. I just know I want to do it,” says Washington. “It’s like a fat person with food. You don’t know what’s the next thing you’re gonna eat, but dammit whatever it is you’re gonna eat it.”
Watch a clip of Washington doing his thing on Comedy Central below.